Venue Security

Venue Security

It is imperative for close protection operatives and close protection teams alike to understand and appreciate venue security. Taking a Principal to any venue, hotel, private residence, restaurant, bar, or club etc. should all be managed in the same way.

The Principal’s requirements, known and perceived threat and risk, budget constraints and team composition all dictate every aspect of close protection operations. None the less, advancing a venue that is to be visited by your Principal is vital in ensuring that the assignment runs smoothly.

Ideally, a security advance party (SAP) will carry out the recce, liaise with the venue and obtain all the relevant information. But, if a CPO is working alone as an IBG, then they need to try and advance the site themself. If this is not a viable option, then the CPO should obtain as much information as possible by any means possible.

Be professional

Untrained or unprofessional teams performing an advance will instantly rub the venue security manager up the wrong way. Unprofessional CPOs may swagger around because they believe they are more important than a venue manager. Others may be being blatantly rude by not introducing themselves or show a lack of respect by dictating when and where they should sit or expecting enhanced privileges.

If a CPO is advancing a venue, it pays dividends to ensure that they introduce themself to a member of the venue security or the venue security manager. The is especially important if arriving blind at a venue because the Principal’s schedule had changed at short notice! The only exception is, of course, that the assignment requires the CPO operates covertly.

Work with Venue Security Services

By linking in with the venue security or management, the CPO will obtain accurate information regarding the layout of the venue. Take into consideration that the venue security guards are often agency security operatives more used at large venues. They may not be fully versed with the layout. So, it is always better to meet with venue in-house representatives.

CPOs will try and push the boundaries of where they can and cannot go within a venue, back of house and staff areas, for example. Pushing boundaries allows them to see the venue security setup or how easy it is to access off-limit areas. BUT it is still better to liaise with the venue security to keep them onside. If the venue security management mistrust the CPO, then they will be reluctant to offer up any assistance or vital information.

A CPO should not get caught in out of bounds areas or even on venue rooftops. Being detected and removed will result in little to no information regarding that venue. The CPO may also get barred from returning!

What information to gather?

Look to acquire as much information as possible such as, but not limited to:

Venue related security operations

  • Identify all ingress and egress points.
  • Is there access control, are searches taking place?
  • What is the location of all emergency exits?
  • What is the venue emergency action plan?
  • Have the in-house staff been screened and vetted?
  • Is CCTV available?
  • Where is the nearest safe-haven?
  • What access is there to emergency services?

Factors influencing operational procedures

  • Where is the arrival drop-off point for debus and pick-up point for the embus?
  • Timings, what time is the Principal expected, are the venue timings the same as the Principal’s timings?
  • Procedure for the Principal, do they need to register check-in, is there a step and repeat board for photo opportunities?
  • How many venue security guards are on duty?
  • Are any disturbances expected due to protests towards the Principal or the venue?
  • Will there be a press presence?
  • Does the public have access?
  • Are there other VIPs and close protection teams expected?
  • What is the route that the Principal will take to the meeting area, and any areas that the Principal may attend?
  • Where will the Principal be sitting if seated?
  • What is the local area surrounding the venue like? How is the crime in the area?

Appropriate methods of communication

  • How will the team communicate? 
  • When should the team use radios, mobile phones, SMS or apps?
  • Is the public address system available?
  • Will communication be overt or covert?
  • Use and maintenance of equipment
  • Are all batteries fully charged?
  • Have all devices been functionally checked?
  • Is a private frequency available?
  • Are all operatives trained on the devices being used?
  • How are emergency services or external agencies best contacted?

Communication black spots

  • Are there any communication blackspots? 
  • What countersurveillance or reactive measures can be put in place to mitigate communication issues?
  • Possible countermeasures
  • Has an SAP been deployed?
  • Can the team control access?
  • Can the team access CCTV?
  • Can the team patrol?

Contingencies

  • What alarms, emergency procedures and local protocols are in place?
  • Does the venue have a safe room?
  • What is the venue’s evacuation plan (if any)?

Close protection operatives and teams thrive on information. There can never be too much information. The list of questions to ask and information to be obtained can be endless.

Using the local resources of the venue security and management can only help in providing a slick service to the assignment. 

Warning – Be Nice to Venue Security

Many close protection operatives will overlook static or venue security guards. These CPOs see them as beneath them or having little or no value in assisting them with their close protection assignment. They could not be further from the truth. A professional, seasoned close protection operative will utilise every possible resource that is available to them to ensure that the assignment runs smoothly.

Maintaining a good relationship with venue security and management will also aide the CPO should they return on another occasion or indeed meet the venue security staff again. 

Be sure that venue security and security managers will remember the CPO that was rude or ignorant or threw their weight around. All this does is embarrass their Principal’s name and their security detail’s reputation. Be remembered as the professional CPO who was polite, diligent and humble.

Close Protection Services

Westminster Security provide close protection services in London, throughout the UK, Europe and Worldwide.

Disclaimer

Westminster Security Ltd are not close protection training providers. Content provided is for informational purposes only. Please do not take this content as an operational guide. Some sensitive details have been omitted or changed for confidentiality and security reasons.